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IOC boss: Sports bodies must clean up their act

Published:Friday | January 1, 2016 | 1:00 AM

LONDON (AP):

Sports organisations must work harder than ever in 2016 to clean up their act after a year of corruption and doping scandals that tarnished the Olympic movement, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said Wednesday in a New Year's message.

Bach said the entire Olympic world must live up to the public's expectations of integrity and heed his call from a year ago to "change or be changed".

"One just needs to look at the events over the last 12 months to realise that this message is even more urgent today to safeguard the credibility of sports organisations and to protect clean athletes," Bach said. "Undoubtedly, recent developments in some sports cast a shadow across the whole world of sport."

While Bach didn't cite any sport by name, he was clearly referring to the corruption scandal that has enveloped football's governing body FIFA and the allegations of bribery and doping cover-ups involving the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and Russia's track and field programme.

Noting the public's growing demand for ethical behavior by athletes and sports bodies, Bach said: "It is our shared responsibility in the Olympic movement to provide new answers to new questions."

FIFA is reeling from a corruption scandal that has led to the arrests of dozens of football and marketing officials and eight-year bans for outgoing FIFA President Sepp Blatter and Union of European Football Associations head Michel Platini. Blatter is a former member of the International Olympic Committee.

Russia's athletics federation was suspended following a damning report by a World Anti-Doping Agency panel that alleged widespread, state-sponsored doping in the country. Russia's track and field athletes could miss next year's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

The IAAF's former president, Lamine Diack, was arrested and charged by French authorities with corruption and money laundering, stemming from allegations that he took money to cover up positive tests in Russia.